Time to stop dic­ing with death on tracks

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

The dan­gers of level cross­ings are surely well known to peo­ple of all ages - so why are we still hear­ing about a num­ber of wor­ry­ing in­ci­dents?

Last week it emerged a group of youths were ‘play­ing chicken’ near one cross­ing, forc­ing a train driver to take emer­gency ac­tion by slam­ming on the brakes to avoid a near miss.

It so eas­ily could have ended in death for the young­sters them­selves, years of an­guish and mourn­ing for their fam­i­lies and a life­time of hor­ror for the poor driver who had ev­ery right not to ex­pect to see a child mess­ing about on the tracks.

Thank­fully, that sce­nario was nar­rowly avoided on this oc­ca­sion but it was a glar­ing re­minder of what can hap­pen when peo­ple act with­out think­ing. And it’s not just pedes­tri­ans ei­ther - Net­work Rail is in­stalling new red light en­force­ment cam­eras at ‘high risk’ level cross­ings to help pre­vent cases of driv­ers jump­ing the lights or swerv­ing the bar­ri­ers.

They claim the near-cer­tain threat of pros­e­cu­tion will act as a fur­ther de­ter­rent - but is risk­ing the lives of them­selves and oth­ers not al­ready enough to put peo­ple off any­way? We’ve all done silly things as kids, no doubt, and we’ve all been left curs­ing de­lays to our jour­neys at level cross­ings be­fore.

When the bar­ri­ers come down quite some time be­fore the train ac­tu­ally passes through, it can be frus­trat­ing.

But surely not enough to take such dras­tic, selfish, stupid ac­tion that puts so many peo­ple at risk.

Hope­fully, bring­ing this is­sue back to the fore of pub­lic dis­cus­sion will en­cour­age peo­ple to think again and con­sider the dras­tic con­se­quences of their ac­tions.

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